NEM In Final Stage of Testing of its Enterprise Blockchain ‘Symbol’ Before Mainnet Launch

NEM has announced that its enterprise-focused blockchain innovation dubbed ‘Symbol’ is set for a debut early next year. The announcement, which was made on Tuesday, highlighted that Symbol is in the last preparation phase before its Mainnet launch.

The NEM team is currently carrying out tests, having frozen Symbol’s iteration; this innovation is expected to introduce a hybrid blockchain infrastructure that features private and public architecture. NEM Group CIO, Dave Hodgson, commented on the value proposition in this enterprise-focused blockchain,

“Created for enterprise use, Symbol is purpose-built to be flexible to a suite of use cases, spanning regulated markets, supply chain, fintech, healthcare, government and more.”

Symbol’s scheduled Mainnet launch on January 14 will mark version 1 of the enterprise blockchain. Once it officially debuts, the platform will open up for use by businesses, token holders, and other stakeholders looking to leverage hybrid blockchain ecosystems. NEM Software CTO, Kristy-Leigh Minehan, emphasized that,

“As a hybrid network, Symbol offers a ‘best of both worlds’ scenario and more flexibility to businesses in how they manage and share data.”

According to NEM, the hybrid approach allows businesses to enjoy private and public blockchains’ benefits. These are fundamentals, such as the transparent nature of public blockchains and encryption measures/data restrictions embedded in private networks.

NEM’s Symbol hybrid infrastructure could be deployed in multiple business environments, including logistics or supply chains. As earlier reported by BEG, the team looked to tap into wine supply chain management as one of the debut niches.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Crypto.com to Debut in Australia Following the Acquisition of a Locally Licensed Entity

Crypto.com is set to roll out its services for the Australian market following the acquisition of a licensed entity dubbed ‘The Card Group Pty Ltd’; this automatically grants the crypto exchange and debit card provider an Australian Financial Service License (ASFL).

The acquisition of an ASFL license means that Crypto.com will offer its blockchain services, including a DeFi wallet and derivative products. Australia’s AML and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 requires particular financial services to acquire an ASFL license before kick-starting operations.

The Card Group Pty Ltd, which is the company that was acquired by Crypto.com, specializes in providing solutions to organizations that seek to grow engagement with cardholders. According to the background information on Crunchbase, some of its services include ‘prepaid cards, mobile, and wearable solutions.’

Crypto.com Expansion into Australia

This milestone by Crypto.com has given them the green light to debut their crypto services in Australia within the legalities provided. Consequently, the firm will expand its market share and stakeholder network within Australia’s financial services ecosystem. The firm had already started preparations, having recently enabled the transfer of Aussi dollars from bank accounts via BPAY; users can also opt for deposits via NPP (PayID).

Notably, Australia has been touted as one of the most legal certain jurisdictions by crypto stakeholders looking to debut their innovations or idea. The country began formulating its crypto oversight as early as 2014 before crypto got all the hype followed three years later. Crypto.com, which is domiciled in Hong Kong, also recently acquired a provisional license to operate in Malta, popularly referred to as the ‘blockchain island.’

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Author: Edwin Munyui

LVL Crypto Exchange Eliminates Trading Fees to Compete Against US Rivals Coinbase & Gemini

An upstart cryptocurrency exchange dubbed ‘LVL’ that seeks to eliminate trading fees announced yesterday that it will be a free-to-use service for the U.S market. This venture is backed by prominent figures, including Anthony Pompliano of Morgan Creek Digital and Bitcoin advocates Willy Woo and Jimmy Song.

Previously, LVL was limited to premium users only but now wants to compete against Gemini and Coinbase. According to the blog post, current exchanges charge exorbitant fees through direct or hidden costs. LVL, which is pronounced ‘level,’ plans to level the playing field with its new model. The blog reads,

“The truth is that exchange fees are robbing people blind. As we stated in Part 1 of our series on fees, fees can be direct or hidden and affect all traders, big or small.”

The LVL Exchange Model

As highlighted earlier, this crypto exchange deviates from the norm by eliminating trading fees within its platform. This means that users can save up to 10% in fees that would have been charged by some of the existing players. LVL users have exposure to three crypto assets, which are Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin, with trading limits capped at $300,000 per day.

As for the on-ramping process, LVL allows users to invest their paychecks via direct deposit to secure positions in one of the featured cryptocurrencies. They have also partnered with MasterCard to facilitate direct BTC spending in merchant outlets across North America. Users can opt for a standard debit card or a metal one that features three months of LVL’s premium products.

Notably, the LVL digital wallets are multi-sig by design, while the FDIC insures their fiat accounts to protect consumers with the blessings of the powers that be. LVL CEO, Chris Slaughter, emphasized the importance of these fundamentals as a cutting edge,

“We are a super scrappy business contender by nature … Like, we only have seven people, but we have the first Mastercard approval in North America. We’re registered with FinCEN. And not only do we have bank accounts, but they are also full checking accounts.”

LVL’s Income Model

Like any going concern, LVL plans to remain sustainable by making some revenue in other areas. The platform charges a withdrawal fee of 3% compared to a 1-5% range by the dominant exchanges in the U.S. Same-day bank transfers incur a 5% fee, although this is a plus given that regular transactions can take up to 5 days.

LVL also runs a premium service at $9 per month; this subscription features utilities such as top-tier private banking service for BTC, automated trading strategies, and a reduction of 33% of the network fees during withdrawals. Slaughter is optimistic that the platform will surpass Coinbase’s liquidity within January 2021.

“Based on our current number of pro users, and the way we expect liquidity to grow following this announcement, we expect to pass Coinbase’s liquidity within the 2% band in January.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

IOTA to Launch A New Wallet; Firefly Was Built from the Ground Up for the Chrysalis

IOTA has announced a new wallet dubbed ‘Firefly’ according to a recent tweet by the IoT-focused blockchain foundation. The tweet sent out yesterday revealed that Firefly would replace IOTA’s infamous wallet, Trinity, which was hacked earlier this year.

Dominik Schiener, the co-founder of IOTA, quoted this tweet announcement noting that the chrysalis upgrade will feature many upgrades as the platform prepares to go fully decentralized in the awaited 2.0 upgrade.

“With Chrysalis, we are fundamentally upgrading the entire IOTA stack.

Over the coming weeks, everyone will participate in this new IOTA future and try our new Firefly wallet and Testnet. This will be an exciting new chapter for IOTA and the entire ecosystem!”

The Chrysalis upgrade marked the commencement towards ‘coordicide’ where IOTA’s coordinator will be removed to usher in complete decentralization. As we reported earlier, the chrysalis is the final testnet before the coordinator is removed.

IOTA’s developer, Charlie Varley, who commented on the ‘Firefly’ announcement, further expounded that the prospective wallet has been a work in progress. He added that the new wallet is redesigned from scratch based on the experiences learned from Trinity, with the first alpha expected in the course of 2020,

“Firefly is our new wallet. We are aiming for a first alpha this year. Taking everything we learned from Trinity, we redesigned it from the ground up.

In 2021 we will add additional features like contacts and chat. Firefly will set a benchmark for user-facing apps in crypto.”

In February, the Trinity wallet had been compromised, an attack that resulted in the loss of $1.6 million user funds, although this was later reimbursed by IOTA’s co-founder David Sonstebo. IOTA is now looking to improve its ecosystem’s security with the 2.0 launch, which is anticipated to take place in Q1, 2021 when the coordinator is replaced by coordicide.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Bitcoin Payment Processor Rolls Out ‘BitPay Send’ to Allow Companies to Pay With Crypto

BitPay has announced a new product dubbed ‘BitPay Send,’ which enables companies to make crypto payments without necessarily holding digital assets. The crypto payment services provider targets extending its clientele portfolio with BitPay Send to bridge the gap that exists when it comes to paying for labor or services in crypto.

Powered by a blockchain ecosystem, the BitPay Send platform is built to increase efficiency in crypto payments and target companies of all sizes. This innovation facilitates massive payments such as the ones companies make to contractors, vendors, customers, affiliates, and employee salaries. Given the growing nature of the distributed economy, BitPay Send poses as an ideal platform for companies that source talent, especially from the gig economy.

Per the current systems, transactions can be extremely slow and costly, especially when a cross-border operation is involved. BitPay Send solves this challenge by supporting round the clock crypto payments across the globe. BitPay CEO, Stephen Pair, noted the high rate of blockchain payments adoption, which he attributes to the ease of sending and receiving payments globally. He added that,

“Traditional international payment methods are cumbersome, costly, and slow. With BitPay Send, companies can make mass payouts without having to buy, own or manage crypto and their recipients receive payments quicker and at a lower cost.”

BitPay Send is already in use by AdGate Media, which leverages the facility to make crypto payments to its affiliates. Basically, BitPay assumes the conversion risk, while AdGate only makes a fiat deposit paid out to an affiliate in crypto. Dan Sapozhnikov, the President of AdGate Media, was keen to highlight the value proposition by BitPay Send in their line of business,

“We have lots of affiliates who wanted to be paid in Bitcoin, especially those who are based outside North America and Europe where access to bank accounts is difficult …

having BitPay manage that risk was an important factor in choosing BitPay Send.”

Notably, recipients will only require a BitPay ID and crypto wallet hence the whole notion of eliminating banks as intermediaries. BitPay, which has been operational since 2011, enjoys the backing of prominent investment firms, which include Virgin Group, Index Ventures, and Founders Fund.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Ethereum Gets A New Smart Contract Language Dubbed ‘Fe’ Aiming to Attract More Developers

The Ethereum Foundation has announced a new smart contract language dubbed ‘Fe’ which is currently in development. This language derives its fundamentals from an Ethereum compiler known as ‘Vyper’; its code is written on Ethereum’s Virtual Machine (EVM) Rust programming language.

According to Ethereum software engineer Christoph Burgdorf, the development of Fe comes as a complement to solidity and will have a net positive effect on the ecosystem,

“The majority of applications deployed on the Ethereum network these days are written in Solidity. We believe the Solidity team is doing a great job and are clearly doing a lot of things right to maintain their current market share.

However, we also believe that more choices for developers will be a net positive for the ecosystem,”

Fe, which is named after the periodic table element Ferrum or Iron, pivots more towards the python programming language. Christoph said that this new language results from the demand for a simpler and more python-friendly alternative to solidity.

This new smart contract language is set to push forward the goals set out by Vyper compiler; they include accurate gas and transaction cost estimations. According to Christoph, the initial goal was to create a Vyper alternative, but the languages ended up taking different syntaxes. He added that,

“At this early stage in development, the differences between Fe and Vyper are still limited. For now, one will notice that Fe borrows a few syntactic properties from Rust.

It’s likely that Fe will begin to more closely resemble Rust as we continue to add new features.”

With Fe’s development ramping up in the recent past, the Ethereum Foundation has expressed optimism in integrating support functions to complete this new smart contract language. Christoph noted that it could be as early as this year, although the compiler will not yet be ready for production at the time,

“To be clear, the compiler will in no way be a suitable choice for a production ERC20 by that time, but we look forward to demonstrating the capabilities of Fe with such a well understood working example.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Kadena to Launch DEX to Rival Uniswap; Touts Higher Speeds and Multiple Protocol Support

Kadena announced on Tuesday that it would roll out a Decentralized Exchange (DEX) dubbed ‘Kadenaswap’ towards the end of 2020 in a bid to rival Ethereum, which is currently struggling with high gas fees and congestion. This JP Morgan blockchain initiative noted that its pipeline multi-chain DEX will provide DeFi traders with an option capable of handling high volumes as part of its contribution to the burgeoning space.

For starters, Kadenaswap is set to facilitate around 480,000 transactions per second compared to a mere 13 Tps on Ethereum. This has been a significant issue for Ethereum recently, as markets rallied in favor of DeFi ecosystems. Gas fees hit all-time highs, with traders paying as much as $15 per transaction at the beginning of September.

Kadenaswap has since been touted as the game-changer by its stakeholders, including Kadena president, Stuart Popejoy. Speaking to Coindesk, he confirmed that the DEX would have no issues in handling 480,000 Tps based on the fundamentals of Kadena blockchain, a platform that debuted at the beginning of the year.

Furthermore, Kadenaswap, unlike Uniswap, will support various protocols to build within its DEX ecosystem. Kadena’s native bridge infrastructure, coupled with the pact smart contract language, will allow its prospectus clients to integrate a couple of protocols not limited to Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cosmos, and Polkadot. Popejoy commented that,

“We already have production code with fully decentralized bridges, and so that creates an interesting opportunity to think of a multi-protocol, multi-venue DEX.”

Like most decentralized projects, Kadena is also considering launching its governance token ‘KDAX,’ used as the fuel to its DEX. This means that KDAX holders will get to vote on proposals intended to improve or keep Kadenaswap sustainable in the DeFi space.

While Kadenaswap stakeholders may be bullish, the DEX will face a tall order in trying to disrupt Uniswap, which currently enjoys $2.3 billion in liquidity and $271 million volume within the past 24 hours. Ethereum 2.0 will launch in the near future, according to the latest updates from the team. If successful, DeFi activity is more likely to continue thriving in this ecosystem.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Reserve Bank of Australia Sees No Rush in Launching A CBDC; Aussie Banknotes Are Working

As other nations are rushing to launch central bank backed digital currency dubbed CBDC, Australia is not joining the bandwagon.

As per the Australian local news platforms, the Reserve Bank of Australia recent payments paper indicates that the bank is taking a cautious stand when it comes to CBDCs and privately issued stablecoins.

According to the australian central bank, there is no urgent case or need to introduce a CBDC in the country. The regulator argues that the country has an efficient, real-time payment platform which eliminates the need of a CBDC.

In addition, the regulator notes that the use of cash for transactions is decreasing in the country as Australian citizens are getting rid of banknotes just like in other countries like Sweden.

According to the central bank, despite the COVID-19 crisis in the country, the demand for cash has gone up. In this regard, RBA has committed to continue making it easy for Australians to access banknotes “for as long as Australians wish to keep using them.”

The Reserves Bank’s paper also explored the projects being carried in China, Sweden and Canada – some of the countries which have taken the CBDC initiatives proactively.

When it comes to Sweden, the RBA says that the country has witnessed a significant decrease in the use of cash for a number of years hence the need for Riksbank to come up and test the use of e-krona.

In Canada’s case, the country’s central bank has been preparing itself to provide CBDC when the opportune time comes. The Canadian central bank has envisioned two scenarios when CBDC can be beneficial – a collapse in use of fiat money for normal transactions as well as a threat to the country’s monetary policy as a result of growth and development of privately issued digital money.

The RBA’s report also touches on Facebook’s Libra stating that it still remains a dream and is following closely on whether it be granted regulatory approval to operate in various jurisdictions.

The Australian central bank also opined that the Chinese CBDC project which is at an advanced stage is largely informed by the popularity of private-sector e-money wallets like WeChat and Alipay.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

DeFi App, Aave, Releases Aavenomics Upgrade as It Prepares to Launch Its Governance Tokenv

Aave, the Ethereum based DeFi protocol, has released a tokenomics upgrade proposal dubbed ‘Aavenomics’ that will define its shift to a more decentralized governance ecosystem.

The firm announced this milestone on July 29 via a medium blog, noting that it is another exciting phase for Aave. Aave’s founder and CEO, Stani Kulechov, has since confirmed that the new governance tokens have been under development since we began the year.

The protocol is set to join the likes of Compound and Synthetic, which already launched its governance tokens. Notably, the debut of Compound’s token saw the DeFi market rally to new ATH’s as this protocol overtook Maker in terms of total value locked (TVL). This position, however, has not held given Maker regained its position as the leading DeFi protocol; over $1 billion are currently locked within its ecosystem.

Aave’s Governance Token

Currently, Aave’s DeFi platform uses LEND as its native token, but these are now set to be swapped for the upcoming governance token, AAVE. These governance tokens will supposedly introduce a financial services ecosystem that is pegged on a future proof framework and distributed governance to enhance safety and sustainability.

The LEND token supply, which is currently 1.3 billion, will be reduced to a bare 16 million AAVE tokens once the Aavenomics proposal is fully integrated. Thirteen million of these AAVE tokens will be redeemed by token holders, while the remaining 3 million will be allocated to Aave Ecosystem reserve. Going by these stats, Aave set the conversion rate for LEND against the new governance token at 100:1 to achieve the target numbers.

To initiate the swap, a governance vote will be conducted via the existing LEND token holders. Once approved, the underlying smart contracts will then facilitate the swap in a move that will see Aave achieve more decentralization in its governance.

The 3 million tokens allocated to Aave’s Ecosystem reserve will be used to incentivize development, hence safety and economic incentives in the rewards pool. Their allocation will be heavily dependent on Aave’s community, a decision they can now voice via a governance token.

Aave’s DeFi Footprint

At the moment, Aave is the fourth DeFi in terms of TVL with a significant $445 million in locked digital assets, up 14.6% in the last 24 hours. The project launched in 2017, and went by ‘EthLend‘ at the time; this name was, however, changed in September 2018 to what is now ‘Aave.’

Some highlights by this ETH financial service protocol include its $18 million ICO funding. This was later topped up by other funding rounds that have seen Aave gather over $3 million from the sale of LEND tokens after 2017.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Crypto Exchange Bitfinex to Roll Out Customized Lending Service With Automated Strategies

Bitfinex, a popular crypto exchange, has unveiled a new peer-to-peer lending service dubbed Lending Pro. The new P2P lending service would allow customers to invest in secured personal and business loans. The platform has a customizable set of tools that manage the trades and investment on behalf of customer’s baked on pre-set criteria specified by the customers as well as market scenarios.

The smart, automated lending platform is said to help investors streamline their crypto lending for loans underwritten and booked by Bitfinex. The automated protocol also helps in reducing cost charged by middlemen, which in turn makes the deal more beneficial for the parties involved in the trade.

  • Some of the key features of the Lending Pro include
  • Calculator to help projections on potential earnings
  • Reporting tools to get a breakdown of your funds
  • Distribution panel to find the best interest rates.

Lending Pro would not have a centrally controlled interest rate; rather, it would depend on the supply-demand of the platform. The launch of Lending Pro also comes at a perfect time right after the start of the staking services.

Staking services are available for cryptocurrencies working on Proof-of-stake mining consensus, and in 2020 it has been a big trend among exchanges, including Bitfinex. The exchange also said that the market is evolving to accept new lending products, and timing is just right for it.

The exchange also revealed that the lending landscape is changing with the reliance on digital assets increasing with each passing day. The data suggest there has been a surge in interest from institutional players as well who are looking for lending services via digital assets to support their businesses. Paolo Ardoino, CTO at Bitfinex said:

“Lending Pro provides our users with a tool to automate peer-to-peer lending, and earn passive income on their crypto. By deploying advanced automated technologies, we’ve created a tool that will help our growing user base maximize their earning efficiency on the crypto held on our exchange.”

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Author: Rebecca Asseh